Comparable novels to FOUR QUEENS would include many titles from the Christie, Sayers, Marsh, and Allingham oeuvres, as well as such recent titles as Claudia Gray’s The Murder of Mr. Wickham, Susan Elia MacNeal’s Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, and Elly Griffiths’ The Locked Room.
by Rosanne Limoncelli
Crooked Lane, March 2025
In 1938 England, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, and Margery Allingham – the « Four Queens » of British crime fiction – host a gala dinner to raise money for the Women’s Volunteer Service to help Britain prepare for war as Nazi Germany begins its conquest of the Continent. Baronet Sir Henry Heathcote has graciously loaned his manor home, Hursley House, for the event, for which the London elite have shown up in fancy gowns and sharp tuxedos, dancing to a twenty-piece orchestra; it is a great success. Early the next morning as the house staff tidies up the rooms for its weekend guests, including the Four Queens, Sir Henry is found dead in the library, with his cigar still lit, his eyes open, and his face contorted in horror.
Scotland Yard is summoned and appears in the form of Detective Chief Inspector Lilian Wyles, who has distinguished herself in the Criminal Investigation Division as its first female officer, and Detective Chief Inspector Richard Davidson. Many of the guests have apparent motives, among them Sir Henry’s politically ambitious son, his sexually rebellious daughter, his left-leaning Spanish son-in-law, his recently jilted fiancee, a young Indian secretary to the Home Secretary, and even the Four Queens are not beneath suspicion. But DCI Wyles, for whom this is her first murder investigation, has a knack for gaining the trust of female suspects and witnesses, and she quietly recruits the Four Queens to use their exceptional puzzle-solving talents to help identify the murderer.
Rosanne Limoncelli’s debut locked-room murder mystery Four Queens centers on the concept that all four of these famous female crime authors could have come together in pre-war England and the fascination of seeing them work together using their respective unique detection skills gleaned from their work to solve an actual murder. DCI Wyles, who has a complex backstory, rises to the occasion and would be a returning character in subsequent mysteries featuring the four queens of crime.
Rosanne Limoncelli is a writer, filmmaker, and professor living in Brooklyn. She has written, directed and produced short narrative films, features, documentaries and educational films. Rosanne also writes poetry, short fiction, educational texts and novels. Her short fiction first appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and her most recent work can be seen in Suspense Magazine and Noir Nation. Currently, she is the Senior DIrector of Film Technologies at the Kanbar Institute and the Martin Scorsese Center of Virtual Production in Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where she teaches writing and filmmaking to students and professors and often serves as an education and technology consultant and as a speaker at conferences and universities. She received her BFA from the Department of Film & TV at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and her MA and PhD in Teaching Reading,Writing, and Media from NYU’s Steinhardt School.